'˜Our superhero Harry taught us that every moment counts'

The sister of a boy who died at Keech Hospice is calling on the people to paint Wardown Park a sea of red and support Luton's Santa Run.

Ella Russell’s brother, Harry,aged three, died at Keech Hospice Care in November 2015. Five year old Ella is now asking everyone to get their Santa suit on.

“It’s a magical thing. I love seeing all the Santas having fun as they run and walk around the course. Last year, just after Harry died, me, Mummy and Daddy went to watch all the Santas. It was brilliant! I’m doing it this year to remember my little brother.”

In his short life, Harry had to cope with physical and mental disabilities including hearing and vision loss, epilepsy, breathing problems and being fed through a tube. His mum, Julie said Harry taught their family how to live in the moment.

“Our handsome Superhero Harry had the most beautiful soul and smile,” said Julie. “He gave the most amazing cuddles and you’d never want to let go. Harry taught us, and Keech always showed us, how to make every moment count. We feel the Santa Run is the perfect positive event not only to remember Harry, but to raise precious funds and awareness for our local children’s hospice.

“With millions of rooftops to reach in just one night, Santa must be quick on his feet. But, for us, Keech’s Santa Run will quite literally be a walk in the park – running is a no no! We’re all looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere, celebrating Harry’s life and having fun with all the other Santas.

As a charity, Keech Hospice Care relies on 70% of its funding to come from its community for its survival.

“It took us a considerable time to accept Harry’s disabilities and not feel bitter and angry,” said Harry’s Dad, Mark. “The most significant moment in Harry’s short life, and certainly for us as a family, was when Keech came into it. It was a huge turning point. Hospice care is not just about death, it‘s very much about living and Keech made Harry’s final year very much about life and gave us so much support.

“I remember asking the doctor when we first arrived at Keech how long as a family we could be looked after by the charity. Doctor Justin replied we had got Keech Hospice Care for the duration of Harry’s life and however many years we needed it for afterwards. I just thought that’s a massive commitment from Keech to our family. Doctor Justin was so sincere when he said it and I was blown away.

“I don’t know where we’d be now if we hadn’t had Keech. So please come and give Santa a run for his money at Keech Hospice Care’s 5km sponsored Santa Run on Sunday 11 December at Wardown Park.”